News & Updates
Liu Prayer Letter (May 2020)
Dear PMU supporters,
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Wow, what a period of God’s history in which to be alive! How often is it that a pandemic affects the entire world? And what a significant upheaval this pandemic has had, even as it has brought drastic changes in our habits, schooling, employment, family, church, and society.As I think through the recent two months that we have had in our shelter-in-place and social distancing, these are some of the lessons that our Lord has been teaching me.
In any nation, not only the aged or weak, but the young and healthy can be, and have been, fighting for their lives and on ventilators due to this novel coronavirus. Indeed, it is a sobering reminder that God gives to all people life and breath and all things (Acts 17:25)! Our God truly is sovereign over all things, and this pandemic is a reminder of that.When God declares His dominion over all, it is a summons to all people everywhere to repent and believe in the gospel (Acts 17:30-31). But that summons is also a call to action to His church that we bear witness of the good news.
That we are a historic, apostolic church does NOT mean that we are allowed to be, or should aspire to be, a church that does not adapt. Not all change is movement towards the world or worldliness. In fact, change is often required because we as individuals and as a church are invariably a product of our environment, much more than we care to admit!While Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8), it does not mean that, “this is the way we have always done it,” should silence any inquiry regarding change and the need for it. We should never change for the sake of change, but this pandemic has forced us to adapt to new ways of doing things…or perhaps it has reminded us to do the things that we should’ve been doing all along (e.g., more frequent pastoral calls, inquiring about well-being of our neighbors, the urgency of gospel witness, etc.).
In any healthy relationship, absence makes the heart grow fonder, but in an unhealthy relationship, absence only reveals that you never missed what you once had. Even as God’s people have been apart from one another these weeks and months not meeting in corporate worship, my prayer is that it would produce in us a greater longing for and delight in the fellowship of the saints (Psalm 84:1-2). May the governor’s orders to cease public worship NOT be because we as God’s people were offering up to Him inferior, half-hearted worship (Malachi 1:6-14)! Instead, when we may finally meet again for public worship, may we do so with joyous praise of our God, who is the great King, for His name is great among the nations (Malachi 1:11)!
Especially when our regular Lord’s Day gatherings have ceased, may we remember that the love of the brethren must continue (Hebrews 13:1).Whether that be through socially-distanced visits, phone calls, emails, texts, or prayer, may continue to show love to our brothers and sisters in Christ!
God is the one who opens doors and closes doors for ministry. In Acts 16, the Holy Spirit forbade Paul and his missionary team from speaking the Word in Asia (Acts 16:6-7), but He instead opened a door for ministry in Macedonia (Acts 16:9-10). May we not waste time and efforts lamenting and being fixated on the closed doors, especially not at the expense of vigilance such that we miss the open doors that the Lord provides!
Lastly, it is a good time, although this is especially true in times of upheaval or uncertainty, to be adopting the simple spiritual disciplines found in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in everything. This simple game plan, and whether or not we are able to stick with it, can also function as a spiritual health check.
During the pestilence, our son Timothy and I moved the church podium to our house and I preach on Sunday a live stream/pre-recorded sermon from our living room, not having a church building of our own. It appears that we have many more listeners that usual. Prayerfully, may that translate into more visitors once this shelter-in-place comes to an end.
We recently celebrated our daughter Hannah’s second birthday. She is quite the eager helper and has several times more energy than her parents. We go on regular walks together and occasional bike rides as a family. The walks have given us the opportunity to meet and greet more of our neighbors. Melissa received a sourdough starter from one of these neighbors, and she has developed a baking habit, and a following of eaters (Ecclesiastes 5:11). The saints at Cornerstone have remained healthy and employed during this pandemic, and for that we give thanks to the Lord. We meet regularly by Zoom for prayer meetings twice a week and see the greater need to pray together as a body.
Thank you for your continued support in prayer and your encouragement in the work of the gospel ministry.
Your fellow bondservant in Christ,